Match Preview :- Manchester United - Tuesday July 20th, 2004 (7:45PM)
On Tuesday night (at 7.30pm) Celtic take on Manchester United. With the main team playing in the States, this will not be a team of established stars, but will contain stars of the future. Celtic last played United in 2002, a game United won quite comfortably.

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The friendly in 2000

United really need no introduction. They are a massive club on a global stage. The beginnings were some what more humble. In 1878, workers on the Lancashire and Yorkshire railway got together to form Newton Heath LYR. This team played Hurst Cross, at one point, and lost. Both teams subsequently changed their monickers to United, and went in different directions, mainly thanks to John Henry Davis (a local brewery owner), who saved Newton Heath from extinction, and formed the club Manchester United.

Another interesting fact: Davis very nearly called the new team Manchester Celtic!

United's rise was meteroric with a bigger money backer, and they got to the quarters of the FA cup at the first attempt, and in 1908, United won the League title for the first time, swiftly followed by the Charity Shield. In 1909 they added the FA cup, the year Old Trafford came into being.

During the 20's and 30's United had a lean spell, including a stint in the second division. Indeed, they almost went into the third division!

Matt Busby brought the team back to the top flight, becoming a hero. And he played for Liverpool and City... United started to win things again. Everybody knows of the Munich crash in 1958, but Busby refused to let it stop him, despite being injured himself, and a rebuilt United reached the final of the FA Cup (losing to Bolton).

The 60's saw United's rise go global, with the European cup and several of the 66 world cup winning squad, in their side they looked unbeatable. Along came George Best, and they were unbeatable.

A succession of trophies and cups flowed into Old Trafford, and through the 80's the marketting men got onboard, and created the brand of Manchester United, turning them not only into one of the world's most successful clubs on the field, but the most successful club off the field.

So many huge stars have played for United, that they would need a page of their own.

These days United have a successful academy and two reserve teams to draw their future talent from. Beckham, Giggs, Scholes, Butt, the Nevilles, the list of home grown talent is as impressive as the bought in superstars. And it is some of this talent Celtic will be facing. A mixture of future stars and possibly even one or two ex-first teamers.

Last time we played them, they beat us 9-1, with Colin Potts grabbing our goal on ten minutes, but Wharton scored before him in the wrong net! Djordjic, Richardson, Nardiello, and Williamson found the net for United, in what was an exciting game.

With Eastwood, Hayward and Denham all likely to be missing from the starting line up, Celtic will probably field trialist Paul Nelson again, who has shown good ability in the game against Clitheroe. However, again we can expect one or two new faces, but mainly an attempt at trying out tactics with the existing squad.

Remember - kick off 7.30pm - and there will be a fair few there - so get in early.
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